Strange but true: Nissin’s not-so-mysterious meat cup noodle series continues to soar in Japan

By Guan Yu Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Nissin Food Products has extended its mystery meat cup noodle series with a kimchi flavour released in January 2021. ©Nissin Food
Nissin Food Products has extended its mystery meat cup noodle series with a kimchi flavour released in January 2021. ©Nissin Food

Related tags Nissin Japan Meat

Japanese instant noodle manufacturer Nissin Food Products has extended its hugely popular mystery meat cup noodle series with a new kimchi flavour hitting the shelves this month.

The series was first launched in 2016, and was a huge marketing success for the brand…even if there wasn’t really much of a mystery around the meat used at all.

The ingredient list always referred to the product containing seasoned minced pork, but the company later admitted it was a mixture of pork and soybeans.

The latest kimchi flavoured mystery meat cup noodle is a soup-type product, and is available for a limited time only.

Nissin had previously launched a curry flavoured mystery meat cup noodle, a mystery meat bowl (rice in soup), and most recently, mystery meat fried rice (stir-fry).

Warm winter

According to Mariko Nakai, marketing assistant at Nissin Food, spicy foods are increasingly popular among younger Japanese consumers. Last year, Nissin launched a mala-flavoured​ (spicy and numbing) soup-type cup noodles in Japan, Malaysia and Singapore.

Nakai told us the company spent almost seven months developing this particular product, adding “the spicy kimchi broth would be suitable especially in the winter seasons​.”

We spent a lot of time trying to create a flavor that wasn’t just spicy or delicious, but also addictive. This addictiveness is an important component of all Cup Noodle flavours​,” Nakai explained.

For kimchi mystery meat, we created the perfect spiciness after a lot of trial and error. First, you will notice the spiciness of red pepper and black pepper which gives a bold flavour and gets you hooked on the first bite, followed by umami from pork, and a hint of sourness from the kimchi​.”

Identity revealed

The firm confirmed the meat used is made from a combination of soy and minced pork.

Our mystery meat is a futuristic type of meat, a hybrid of flavoured soy-based meat and animal-based meat, combined with vegetables​,” Nakai told us.

The ingredients are sourced from several countries, with the flour for the noodles are from Australia, Japan, US and Canada. Palm oil is sourced from Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

The pork seasoning was obtained from Japan, while kimchi chives and green onions derive from China.

The minced pork used in the mystery meat was obtained from US and Japan.

The kimchi mystery meat cup noodle is manufactured in Japan, and sold nationwide in supermarkets, convenience stores and Nissin’s online shop. It retails for JPY193 (US$1.90) before tax.

At the moment, there are no plans for exports.

Nissin has also previously introduced a white mystery meat which replaces the pork with chicken instead.

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